• By Keng Jin Lee and Kanaga Rajan
    Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Neuro-Ophthalmology/Orbit, Retina/Vitreous

    A surgeon discovered something surprising in the eye of a 74-year-old woman: a Phillips-head screw. She presented for a dry AMD evaluation, but pseudocolor fundus photography revealed a titanium screw under the retina in the superotemporal midperiphery instead. The only notable event in her history occurred 10 years prior, when she had right temporal meningioma that was treated with neurosurgery. Remarkably, the patient’s visual fields was normal; she remains asymptomatic and has not manifested complications from the screw. Ophthalmology

    After 16 years with no light perception, a novel implant restored rudimentary vision to Bernardeta Gómez. She was the first patient to receive a brain implant that bypasses the eyes and optic nerve, and instead feeds signals directly to the visual cortex. Invented by Spanish neuroengineer Eduardo Fernandez, MD, PhD, the implant enabled Gómez to identify ceiling lights, letters, basic shapes and people. She could even play a simple computer game piped directly into her brain. For safety reasons, the prosthesis had to be removed after 6 months—a feature that Fernandez is looking to extend in future iterations of the device. MIT Technology Review

    ReNeuron continues to see positive results from its human retinal progenitor cell (hRPC) therapy for retinitis pigmentosa, the company announced in a press release. New results from the ongoing phase 1/2a trial show that the treatment improves vision for up to 12 months. Moving forward, the company plans to amend their protocol to expand the scope of their trial and to open a U.K. clinical site. The therapy has already received orphan drug and fast track designations from the FDA. ReNeuron

    Meanwhile, a new Nature Medicine study reports the initial results from a first-in-human gene therapy trial for X-linked retinitis pigmentosa caused by RPGR mutations. The phase 1/2, dose-escalation study—comprising 18 patients followed for up to 6 months—revealed visual field improvements with no notable safety concerns. “This gene therapy study offers hope for patients with this currently untreatable blinding disease,” said Bascom Palmer’s principle investigator Bryon Lam, MD, adding that these findings will support ongoing phase 2/3 trials. University of Miami Health System, Nature Medicine



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